Accenture Match Play Championship, Luke Donald and Justin Rose the Big Losers today.

Both Luke Donald and Justin Rose tumbled out of  the Accenture Match-Play Championship at Dove Mountain today. Luke crashed out & and 6 to Scott Piercy and Justin Rose fell to Nicolas Colsaerts 4 and 2.

Ian Poulter beat Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1 while Matt Kuchar dispatched Sergio Garcia 2 and 1. Louis Oosthuizen, an inform favorite for this competition fell to Robert Garrigus 3 and 2.

Shane Lowery continues his good form, beating Carl Pettersson 6 and 5, while another Irishman Graeme McDowell beat off the challenge of Alex Noren 1 up through twenty holes.

Bubba Watson continues his good form, beating Jim Furyk 1 up through twenty-two holes, a tense and tough struggle. Chucky Three Sticks could not continue where he left off when beating Tiger Woods,he fell to Gonzalo Fedez- Castano 6 and 5.

Martin Kaymer is still  in good shape as he defeated Raphael Cabrera-Bello.

This turning into a very interesting tournament, with so many top players falling over in the early rounds, there are no bookies favorites now, it is anybody’s tournament.

This how the match-ups are for tomorrow;

Match 49 (1st tee)
Match 49: 9:10 a.m. ET (7:10 a.m. local)
ROBERT GARRIGUS (2-0) vs. FREDRIK JACOBSON (4-3)

No player has made more birdies this week than Garrigus, who has 14 in his first two rounds at Dove Mountain. Garrigus has won 12 holes and lost just five. Although the 35-year-old Garrigus hasn’t played in a match play format in 18 years, he likes the challenge. “It’s a fun, fun format for me, especially if I’m rolling it well, and I am.” Jacobson’s opponents have made just two birdies against him.

Match 50 (1st tee)
9:22 a.m. ET (7:22 a.m. local)
NICOLAS COLSAERTS (2-1) vs. MATT KUCHAR (11-3)

Colsaerts will have the distance advantage off the tee; he and Bubba Watson are the only two players averaging more than 300 yards in driving distance this week. “If I’m on, I’m going to give myself a lot of birdie tries,” Colsaerts said. But he and Kuchar each have made an equal number of birdies this week (eight) and Kuchar doesn’t get phased by being outdriven.

Match 53 (1st tee)
9:34 a.m.ET (7:34 a.m. local)
SHANE LOWRY (2-0) vs. GRAEME McDOWELL (5-6)

For the second time this week, G-Mac faces a foe from Ireland, having already beaten Padraig Harrington. And for the second time this week, Lowry faces a foe from Northern Ireland, having upset Rory McIlroy. The two were expected to have dinner together Friday night. “A good craic and be a bit of banter,” Lowry said. McDowell has the experience edge, but he doesn’t think it’ll be a factor against Lowry. “If Rory didn’t intimidate him, I suppose what chance do I have?” McDowell said. The two practiced together earlier this week, with McDowell winning the stakes. “Hopefully I can continue that role tomorrow,” he said.

Match 54 (1st tee)
9:46 a.m. ET (7:46 a.m. local)
BUBBA WATSON (7-3) vs. JASON DAY (5-2)

Watson is the only player ranked in the top 10 in the world who remains in the field. He’s also played more holes than anybody else this week (39). Of those 39 holes, he’s only trailed after one hole. Both players are long off the tee, so Day doesn’t expect to give up much ground in distance. “I’m driving the ball really, really nicely,” he said.

Match 51 (10th tee)
9:10 a.m. ET (7:10 a.m. local)
SCOTT PIERCY (2-0) vs. STEVE STRICKER (14-9)

Piercy is coming off a surprisingly easy 7-and-6 win over top-seeded and world No. 2 Luke Donald. The Accenture Match Play Championship rookie now faces another former champion in Steve Sticker, who was taken to 21 holes by Nick Watney in the second round. Stricker acknowledged that while he wasn’t surprised to see Piercy win, the lop-sided nature of that victory “does catch your attention.” Piercy played his 12 holes on Friday in 7 under, too. “Maybe he used them all up today.”

Match 52 (10th tee)
9:22 a.m. ET (7:22 a.m. local)
TIM CLARK (7-7) vs. IAN POULTER (20-9)

These two players couldn’t be more different — the flashy Poulter and the steady-Eddy Clark. Poulter, who made seven birdies and no bogeys in beating Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1 in the second round, has prospered at Dove Mountain, too, winning in 2010 and reaching the consolation finals five years earlier. Clark, on the other hand, has never advanced past the third round and admits the 7,791-yard course is a challenge for a man who ranks 176th in driving distance. “On a day like today, I just accepted that and went about hitting good wedge shots,” said Clark, who beat Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen 3 and 2, “Sometimes if I can do that maybe I can get under the skin of my opponent.”

Match 55 (10th tee)
9:34 a.m. ET (7:34 a.m. local)
GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO (2-1) vs. WEBB SIMPSON (2-1)

Both players lost in the first round a year ago as they made their Accenture Match Play Championship debuts. In fact, until Fernandez-Castano, a former Spanish Amateur champ, beat Francesco Molinari 2 up on Friday morning he had never won a match as a pro on the 18th hole. “I’m starting to love (match play) again,” said Fernandez-Castano, who has made fewer bogeys than anyone in the field. Simpson, who has been sick most of the week, has only hit 50 percent of his greens in regulation, including just 10 in 18 holes on Friday, to rank last among the players remaining. He’s an opportunistic putter, though, which has carried him through the week.

March 56 (10th tee)
9:46 a.m. ET (7:46 a.m. local)
MARTIN KAYMER (11-5) vs. HUNTER MAHAN (12-4)

These two know what it takes to win at Dove Mountain. Mahan is the defending champion while Kaymer reached the title tilt in 2011 before losing to Luke Donald. The two have history, too — Kaymer beat Mahan 2 and 1 on the way to his runner-up finish in 2011. “It was a tough, really tight match, and he became a lot better player the last two years,” Kaymer recalled. “I have a lot of respect for him.” Mahan has wielded a hot putter this week taking just 44 rolls over 29 holes. “Confidence is high,” he said. “I know I can play this place well and I know I can beat anybody on any given day.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open, Wire to Wire Win For Phil

Never a doubt

Phil Mickleson / Martin / Getty Images

Phil Mickleson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale by four shots, going wire to wire for a dominating victory. Phil’s final score was -28 under par, after he rounded out his tournament with a -4 under par 67 last round. With this win Phil moved to No. 3 in the race for the FedEx Cup after earning 500 points for his victory at TPC Scottsdale. Phil said how important the win was for him;

” It’s an important one for me, because it’s been a while since I won, been a while since I’ve been in contention, I was certainly nervous heading into today. I think the thing I’m most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn’t care for. I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well, but for me, the rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal.”

Brandt Snedeker finished in second place with a total score of -24 under par, his last round effort of -6 under par was not quite enough to bother Phil.

Brandt said that Phil had played unbelievable golf;

Brandt Snedeker / Helen Ross PGATOUR.COM

“It was a ton of fun, to be in the last group with Phil and kind of trade birdie for birdie and make up some ground was a lot of fun. It’s what we play for. I wish I could have put some more pressure on him and got a little closer than I did today, but I think I shot 12 under par on the weekend and made one bogey. Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win, and that’s kind of what this week was all about. I feel like I’m running into the Hall of Famers every week, it would be nice if they weren’t in the field and I could go ahead and go after it. It’s just tough, you know. It was fun to watch, fun to be part of, you want to win those, and hopefully I will soon.”

 

Scott Piercy finished in third place after he fired the best round of the last day, a -10 under par 61, that elevated him up the leaderboard to finish with a total of -23 under par for the tournament. Scott really liked the TPC Scottsdale greens;

“These greens were amazing, if you got it online, rolling, you made it.”

Sony Open, Russell Henley Hijacks the Lead

Russell Henley / Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Russell Henley hijacked the second round lead in the Sony Open in Hawaii, from his friend and first round leader Scott Langley, with another round of -7 under par 63. The two rookies continue to defy all the odds and dominate the leaderboard between them. Russell, who is just  two days into his PGA Tour career is already in the record books, breaking the 36-hole tournament scoring record by two shots, at -14 under par and a total of 126, the previous 36-hole record at the Sony Open was 128, shared by five players, most recently John Cook in 2002.

Russell said it all seems a bit unreal;

” It’s pretty surreal.”

The two Scotts, Langley and Piercy are now tied two shots behind on -12 under par, Scott Langley followed his opening round 62, with a second round of 66, and Scott Piercy had another round of 64, both players total 128.

Scott Langley admitted it was hard to match his amazing first round 62;

“It’s never easy to back up a really good round, I kind of got off to a little slower start, but it was certainly nice to finish the way I did and kind of get back in it with Russ. He played so well, and I was just trying to keep pace as much as I can. To finish that way was really good.”

Scott Piercy had to admit he knew very little about the two new rookies;

” It’s Russell something and Langley?  I think Russell won when he was in college, right? Hey, they’re playing well. I think I played in five final groups as a rookie and didn’t come through. There’s a learning curve, but maybe their curve is quicker than mine.”

Matt Kuchar is in fourth place alone on -11 under par, with his second round score of -7 under par, 63. Matt was real happy with the conditions here at the Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu, coming from last weeks windy weather in Maui;

” Coming from last week, it feels really easy out there, this course, is not as simple as it seems, it’s one of the tougher courses on tour. If you’re not playing well, you’re going to make some bogeys. I understand the wind is supposed to really die down over the weekend, so I certainly expect low scoring. The course is in great shape, greens are beautiful, so there’s going to be a lot more birdies and your foot has definitely got to be down on the pedal.”

One sad note today, Dustin Johnson who won last week at Kapalua, withdrew after nine holes today, suffering from the flu. Dustin will now not  get a chance to match Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the two Hawaii events.

He said of his malaise;

” I feel like I’m coming down with whatever my caddie’s got, just not feeling well. Stomach hurts, headache, tired.”

I think that as long as Scott and Russell are paired together one of them will win this tournament  they are helping each other and are not too bothered about the rest of the field. But if they are split up for the last round, competing against a seasoned Tour professional, then the going will get a little tougher coming down the stretch on Sunday.

Sony Open, Hawaii, Rookie Scott Langley Leads

SONY OPEN

on the left is Scott Langley/ Getty Images

The Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club.had a surprising first round leader in Scott Langley, in his first start as a rookie on Tour. Scott fired in a first round 62, -8 under par, with some wonderful stroke play and nerveless putting. Scott said he was excited about the coming days of this tournament;

“I’m a young guy, but I’m old enough to know that we have a lot of golf left. We’ve barely started, and I’m excited about the next few days.”

Just one shot behind the leader in second place is another rookie, Russell Henley, with his opening effort of -7 under par 63. Russell was pleased he got friends Scott and Luke Guthrie as his playing partners in the first round;

“I think there was a lot of nerves for me the first few holes and I think playing with Scotty and Luke was huge for me, and watching them play well kind of gave me a goal to try to keep up with them, so it was definitely fun feeding off them.”

Unfortunately Luke Guthrie did not fare so well, finishing at +1 over par, tied in 88th place.

A year ago Scott and Russell two were playing in a Hooters Tour event in Florida, Russell missing the cut and Scott just making it to proceed, walking up sixteen today the pair reminisced, Scott said;

“We were on the range trying to help each other find it. We were just walking up 16, you could see the ocean behind, PGA TOUR signs everywhere. We looked at each other and realized this is pretty cool. To look back one year ago and to know that we weren’t here, we were in a far different place.”

Tied in third spot at -6 under par are Scott Piercy and Tim Clark, Scott Piercy had a 64 in the morning, with Tim Clark matching that score in the afternoon session. Tim spent most of last year suffering from a mystery elbow injury, and came into this tournament with fairly low expectations;

“It’s going to be an exciting year for me because I do feel like I’m healthy again and can play a full schedule. I’m obviously doing a lot better than I was last year.”

Scott Piercy, the RBC Canadian Open champion, was among 20 players in the field who started their season last week on Maui, at the weather wrecked Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course, he recalled the terrible putting performance he endured;

” Seven three-putts and a four-putt last week. The wind wasn’t even blowing today compared to last week. I just played solid today, hit it in a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, made two fairly key putts and took care of the par fives.”

Seventy players in the 144-man field broke par, they included a pair from the Champions Tour. Russ Cochran, who won the Senior British Open in 2011, he had a first round of 68 and Fred Funk who shot an even par round of 70.

Euro Tour WGC-HSBC Champions, China. Incredible Ian Poulter Wins

Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter/getty images

The incredible performances of Ian Poulter continue to impress everyone, as he pulled off another wonderful win at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Mission Hills, China, with a grittty -7 under par 65 last round to win in style. It was in the same fashion as his amazing Ryder Cup performance for Team Europe last month where he won all four of his matches, Ian’s putter display was as equally destructive at Mission Hills as he carded eight birdies before dropping a shot at the penultimate hole to finish with a score of -21 under par for the tournament. This victory is Ian’s 12th European Tour title and his second success in a WGC event,  he won the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2010. Ian spoke about his amazing run of recent form;

It’s been an amazing five or six weeks with The Ryder Cup, and then coming here in good spirits, I played well last week and took a lot from that. I knew that if I stayed patient I’d be right there at the end. It was a special day, I knew there was a good round of golf in me out there on that golf course. As we saw yesterday, if you start going low and get a number on the board then you’re going to be hard to beat. I feel confident with the putter right now. It’s so nice to get my hands on another trophy and get back in the winner’s circle. I feel fantastic, I feel great. After looking at the board after two days, Louis being five shots clear , if he carried on that way, he was going to run away. But it was nice to put up two scores over the weekend, -14 under for Saturday and Sunday is a decent finish, and nice to get another victory in a year where there one was sorely needed. As well as I’ve played this year, it would have been a disappointment personally to have gone that year without winning, and for me and for how I played this year, it’s obviously a great and fantastic feeling especially after The Ryder Cup to get my hands back on a great trophy like this. I definitely think it is a part continuation of The Ryder Cup. I played great and I felt like I holed putts at the right time, which I did. After two days, I felt I was probably too far back with the way Louis was playing, but as you saw anything is possible on this golf course once you get the putter warm. I’ve already spent the cheque last week. I’m not going to tell you what it is until it arrives and I’ve got it home safe and sound, but yes, it was a vehicle, and yes, it was very expensive. I’ll let you all know what it is when it arrives. Some things don’t change!”

Phil Mickelson shot -4 under par 68 last round which left him with a share of second place with compatriots Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy, as well as Open Champion Ernie Els. Phil missed a makeable birdie putt on the 18th, which would have given him second spot alone. For a good part of the day it appeared that Lee Westwood was going to break his WGC duck at the 41st attempt, but sadly his short game let him down on the 15th and a bogey there saw him sign for a par round of 72, the same as Louis Oosthuizen, as the overnight leaders tied for sixth. Martin Kaymer ran up a triple bogey six at the par three 17th after finding the greenside bunker, and followed that mistake with a poor bunker shot, and he eventually finished ninth behind first round joint-leader Adam Scott.

Congratulations to Ian Poulter, I can not wait to see what car he has bought, on offer last week were Ferrari, Maserati and Rolls Royce, my guess would be Maserati, I think that fits Ian’s style.

RBC Canadian Open Rd 3, Robert Garrigus Leads

 

Happy place

Robert Garrigus/Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

 

Big hitting Robert Garrigus leads the RBC Canadian open after shooting a third round of -6 under par 64, for a tournament total of -16 under par, and also broke the 54-hole scoring record at the RBC Canadian Open, that was set more than a half-century ago by Arnold Palmer .Robert  was one shot better than Arnold, who set the record in 1955 at Weston Golf & Country Club, and this was matched two years ago by Dean Wilson at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. Arnold went on to win in 1955, giving him the first of his 62 PGA TOUR titles.  The average distance off the tee this week by Robert is over 320 yards, leaving himself some short irons into the soft receptive greens at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario, and he has taken full advantage of these conditions.

Robert has a one shot lead over William McGirt, whose third round was a steady -4 under par 66, and he is in good position to challenge for his first win on Tour.

In third place, by himself, is another consistent player this week, Scott Piercy, his third round was a -3 under par 67, which left him just two shots from the top of the leaderboard.

There are three players tied for fourth spot, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Stallings and Captain Kirk. Both Scott and Captain Kirk fired in rounds of -7 under par 63, and in that kind of form are certainly in contention. Scott managed to birdie six of seven holes on the front nine, including four in a row at one point, he said afterwards;

“It was a dream start, that front nine, everything was going right. I always had the theory that you always have these days when the putts are going in the middle of the hole and everything’s working out, so you have to get as many as you can on the days you have it.”

The way this course is playing the final outcome is far from certain, with just about anyone in the top ten at the moment with a chance of lifting the trophy, I expect to see someone else shoot a 62 in the final round.

RBC Canadian Lift,Clean & Place Open

TOUR Report: RBC Canadian

William McGirt & Scott Piercy/getty images

Once again they are playing lift, clean and place at the RBC Canadian Open on the Hamilton G&CC, with William McGirt and Scott Piercy sharing the lead after round two. Scott could not match yesterdays recording equaling round, but his -3 under par 67 got him to -11 under par and still top of the board. Sharing that spot is William McGirt, whose -4 under par 66 went nicely with his first round 63 and also on -11 for the tournament. Tim Clark had the best round of the day, another record equaling -8 under par 62 and tied for fourth place, with Vijay Singh. Alone in third spot is Robert Garrigus, with a tournament total of -10 under par.

Scott spoke about the pressure of coming off a 62;

“You shoot 62 and think, oh, I’ve got it. You expect to shoot another 62, which is;  to shoot 62, you’ve got to have things going for you. You’ve got to be making the putts. You’ve got to get the right bounces. I think you’ve got to be realistic with your expectations. When I shot 62, my expectation was to hit fairways and greens, and it just happened. Knowing that it’s generally tough to follow up a course record, I just wanted to hit a bunch of greens, a bunch of fairways, and let it happen again. I like to be aggressive and shoot at things, because the greens are so severe in spots, you want to be below the hole, putting up into them. Here it’s more playing for pars and hoping that the birdies fall.”

William McGirt is relishing the uncharted territory he finds himself in;

” I’ve never been in this position out here, I was in the next to last group at Tampa this year. It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it. Yesterday it seemed like I hit a lot of really good iron shots. I did hit a couple close today, but I wasn’t quite as close yesterday, so it was a little tougher to make putts. But I did sneak it by them on 8 in the front of the green, so it was a bonus. All in all it was pretty solid. Hit a lot of fairways and greens, and fortunately I made some putts.”

This year Tim Clark has managed to miss the cut four times and was disqualified from another event, this was all due to him recovering from wrist surgery, he said of his round today;

” The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf. I could feel I was getting better every round I played. I don’t think I came back too soon, I think it’s what I needed to do. Obviously being soft you’re able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies.”

With all these record breaking scores and the easy soft course conditions, you have to wonder why the authorities allowed these top professional players to, lift, clean and place. Professional players will always take advantage of easy conditions, why make even easier for them. This competition is the Canadian Open, a searching test of golf for the best of players, well it’s not much of a test at the moment. Even at my club, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, we never play lift, clean and place, it is always play the ball as it lies.

Given the easy conditions it is sad to see Canadian Mike Weir missing the cut of -1 under par, in his national tournament, but he is not alone in the big name casualties. Last weeks Open Champion Ernie Els has also missed the cut this week, much to everybody’s surprise.

Mike has failed to make the cut in all his eleven starts this year and does not seem to know what the problem is, or how to fix it;

” I don’t know,I need a little time to think about it, and see what I can draw on it and see what we can get ready for next week.”

RBC Canadian Open, Scott Piercy shoots 62, to lead

Scott Piercy/NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Scott Piercy shot a record equaling opening round of  62 to lead the RBC Canadian Open by just one shot at the Hamilton G&CC · Ancaster, Ontario, Canada course. He leads by  one stroke from England’s Greg Owen and William McGirt of America. Scott said about his opening effort;

 ” Hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today. I was rolling the ball well, and obviously you gotta make some putts, too. I hit it solid out there. I think I only missed a couple of greens, and ball striking round here with the rough being so penal is a must to shoot well.”

Greg Owen was happy with the way he putted today;

” Obviously I putted pretty well. I think you shoot 63 you have to putt well, so that was the strength of my game today, which is unusual. You know, just gotta keep it in play, hit the fairways. It’s not a long golf course. Hit the fairways and then give yourself as many chances as you can, and that’s what I did today. Got off to a rough start, but I played pretty solid from then on.”

els11.jpg

Ernie Els 2012 Open Champion/Martin/Getty Images

Ernie was off target toady;

“It’s a scoring golf course if you get it in play, which I didn’t do enough of today. It’s not that I didn’t have some great chances, I was just a bit sluggish today, trying to find that rhythm to my swing that I had last Sunday at the British Open. But, it wasn’t quite there today.”

Ernie finished the day at +2 over par, alongside Canadian favorite Mike Weir. They will both need to put in great rounds tomorrow if they want to contest this title.

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The John Deere Classic, Zach Johnson wins in Play-Off

Zach Johnson won the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run on Sunday with a birdie on the second play-off hole, after he and Troy Matteson had finished tied at -20 under par. The first play-off hole was a bizarre event where both players scored a  double bogey 6, after hitting their second shots into the water and being unable to recover to score a five.

Crowd pleaser

Zach Johnson /Cohen/Getty Images

This week was a good week for those who believe in God. Earlier, in Scotland, Jeev Milkha Singh had won with a birdie in a play-off in the Scottish Open, Jeev had remarked;

” I think God has been kind.”

Zach, a devoted Christian, also thanked God after he had sunk his winning birdie putt on the second play-off hole. About his joy at winning this tournament he said;

‘ It just feels awesome. This tournament has meant so much to me and my family, from when they gave me exemptions to being a part of its board.”

He also spoke about the great 6 iron shot he played from the bunker on the second play-off hole, which led to his winning birdie putt from about twelve inches;

“I liked that crescendo from the crowd, I saw it bounce on the green and hoped it would kick left. I couldn’t see the golf ball.”

Troy Matteson also applauded Zach’s great approach;

“My hat’s off to Zach. He drove it in the bunker twice and figured out a way to win. It’s a great story, you know, home-town kid.”

Scott Piercy finished in third place with a last round -6 under par 65, for a good finish to his tournament.

I guess God was looking favorably on golf today as it has been said that giving golf to us was His way of getting a few laughs.

Steve Stricker said he had fun out there, besides coming up short in his record attempt of a fourth win;

” It was a lot of fun. A little disappointing on the back nine, but I put myself in the position on the front and was striking the ball nicely. Really struck it nicely all day except for those three drives at 14, 15, and 17. But other than that, my iron play was good and really couple little miss-putts there. Missed a little putt at 10 for birdie. But all in all it was a good week. A lot of fun. It was fun trying to do it. I gave it a rip and came up a few short, but it was fun trying. “